About Tel Aviv's Favorite GardenBetween King George and Tchernichovsky Streets, in the center of Tel Aviv, lies a peaceful and charming garden called Meir Park (Gan Meir). The garden is a corner of silence in the bustle of the city. You will see mothers and caregivers with toddlers, old people resting in the sun, dogs and their owners coming to the dog garden, couples in a break and people sitting to read a book. The large trees in its expanses provide plenty of shade for those sitting on wooden benches, near picnic corners and ping pong tables. In its center is a large ornamental pond surrounded by greenery and decorated with spectacular water lilies.
Meir Park was named after Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv. It is located on an area donated by the Chelouche family for this purpose. The municipality planned to erect the park in honor of Dizengoff's 70th birthday, but its construction was not simple and it was delayed until shortly before he died, Dizengoff demanded angrily not to tie his name to this garden. Finally, more than a decade later and years after the man's death, the garden was inaugurated in 1944.
In 2004 a tradition was started in the Meir Park, of neighborhood childhood games being played at night. The participants, adults aged 20 and over, playing games from their childhood, such as dodgeball, hide and seek, and an Israeli game called "salty fish."
About the Murder in Meir Park in the 1940'sToday it is hard to identify the tranquil garden where toddlers play, and couples walk hand in hand, with a violent crime scene, but in 1949 there was an affair that instigated the city's residents and is known as the murder in Meir Park. The affair, which was the first crime in the small Tel Aviv, cast a great shadow on the beautiful and innocent garden.
It was a rape and murder that horrified young Tel Aviv. It began in the summer of 1946, when two young people, Daniel Factory and Naomi Stein, met in Meir Park. The two discovered a few weeks earlier that they were half-brothers.
Suddenly, a stranger named David Jakubowicz approaches the two. He hit Daniel Factory with a stick on his head and raped Naomi, as it turned out that he had often done in the past. The dying Daniel managed to reach his mother's nearby house, where he collapsed. All night he was dying in the hospital and the next day he past away.
The odd thing is that Jakubowicz, a Greek Christian from Cyprus, whose name was actually Christos Nicolaides, who was only posing as Jewish, was one of those who reported to the police about "the young woman who was raped and found in the park." When it became clear that he had lied about his identity, he was suspected, and finally identified by Naomi. In the trial, which instigated the entire city, Jakubowicz was convicted of murder and rape and sentenced to death. This was the first time that an Israeli judge sentenced such a punishment.
The affair awoke international resonance, as the murderer arrived in Israel as part of his service in the British army and pretended to be Jewish.
However, the sentence was not carried out. The Supreme Court ruled that since Jakubowicz had killed Daniel Factory to prevent the latter from interfering with the rape, he did not murder him but killed him. Thus, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Jakubowicz was released from prison ten years later.
Due to the rape and murder in Meir Park, the garden's reputation was severely damaged. For years, Tel Aviv residents were afraid to go through the garden at night and what was a corner of happiness became a threatening shadow of terror.